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Burris Blocked From Senate Seat - To Be or Not To Be A U.S. Senator

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:13 pm
I wonder if Obama is now wishing he'd not resigned his senate seat so quickly. All this mess would not be happening now if he had not been so hasty in doing so. Of course, he didn't know it would occur at the time.


January 7, 2009
Burris Is Blocked From Taking Illinois Senate Seat
By CARL HULSE and DAVID STOUT
WASHINGTON " Roland W. Burris, the would-be junior senator from Illinois, arrived at the Capitol on Tuesday morning for the start of the 111th Congress and was greeted like a celebrity, even though he remains a private citizen, at least for the moment.

Mr. Burris, who shortly before his arrival had insisted he was “certainly not looking for drama,” found himself caught up in a comedy of sorts. Looking unsettled and with rain glistening on his topcoat, he entered the building to encounter a mob of reporters and photographers.

Capitol police officers tried to clear a path for Mr. Burris. “You can’t keep a regular citizen from walking into the Capitol,” one officer shouted.

Somehow, Citizen Burris made his way to the office of Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, to whom he presented his credentials, only to have her reject them. Afterward, the aspiring legislator stood in the rain outside and declared, “Members of the media, my name is Roland Burris, the junior senator from the State of Illinois.”

Not yet, he isn’t. The problem for Mr. Burris, of course, is that he was named to the seat by the embattled Illinois governor, Rod R. Blagojevich. Ms. Erickson had already said that the appointment letter forwarded by the governor’s office did not comply with Rule II of the Senate’s standing rules, which requires signatures of both the governor and the secretary of state.

The Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has refused to sign, saying the appointment is invalid because of a federal corruption investigation surrounding the governor and what prosecutors describe as his efforts to sell the Senate seat, vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

“Roland Burris is welcome to Washington; he is welcome to come to my office,” Illinois’s senior senator, Richard J. Durbin, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said on Monday. “But he couldn’t possibly be anticipating any official action until at least his papers are filed.”

After the mob scene at the Capitol on Tuesday morning, Mr. Burris and his lawyers held a brief news conference. One lawyer, Timothy W. Wright III, complained that it was “against the law of the land” to block Mr. Burris from taking his seat.

Mr. Wright vowed to do whatever necessary to “resolve this impasse and move forward on behalf of the people.” The lawyer said Mr. Burris would continue to confer with the Senate leadership and might go to court if the talks are unsuccessful.

If the Illinois Senate seat is contested in court, the issues could be serious indeed. The Constitution gives each chamber of Congress the power to judge the qualifications of its members. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has ruled that the lawmakers cannot arbitrarily add membership requirements that are not spelled out in the Constitution.

And if the appointment of Mr. Burris is tainted by Mr. Blagojevich’s situation, as some have argued, it must be noted that the governor has only been accused of crimes, but neither indicted nor convicted.

Read more of article at the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/us/politics/07burris.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
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Type: Discussion • Score: 11 • Views: 2,382 • Replies: 16
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:26 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

I wonder if Obama is now wishing he'd not resigned his senate seat so quickly. All this mess would not be happening now if he had not been so hasty in doing so. Of course, he didn't know it would occur at the time.

He's probably got bigger things on his mind. Seems to me like this is a minor annoyance compared to the economic crisis.

All presidents endure a blizzard of political minutia while in office. I'm sure this one will pass (unless they find some nasty connection between Obama and the embattled governor, that would be different).
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:39 pm
Agree. Obama has bigger fish to fry then some moron Gov. in Ill .

The Democrats would be smart to seat Burris and stop the Bullshit.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:44 pm
@Woiyo9,
Wow! Is it your New Years resolution to make sense, Woiyo? Wink
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:53 pm
@Woiyo9,
I couldn't agree more.
0 Replies
 
Woiyo9
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 12:54 pm
@JTT,
I had to use small words so you can understand.
0 Replies
 
CoastalRat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:42 pm
Yeap, even though the Illinois governor may well be a scumbag, he is unconvicted and still the governor and as such has the legal right to make the appointment. I think the man needs to be seated, although I'm not sure if the fault rests with the Washington democrats or the Illinois Sec. of State who refused to sign the credentials which Burris presented.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:51 pm
Poll: Half say Burris should be blocked from Sen. seat

By Susan Page and John Fritze, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON " A majority of Americans say Roland Burris should be blocked from taking a U.S. Senate seat and Illinois should hold a special election to fill the vacancy he was appointed to fill, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

In a spectacle that spilled onto the Capitol steps, Burris was turned away from the Senate Tuesday as the 111th Congress was gaveled into session. His lawyer, Timothy Wright III, said the Illinois politician was considering more negotiations or a court challenge to press his case.

The controversy centers on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appointed Burris after federal prosecutors released a criminal complaint that accused the governor of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Interest in the dispute is high " six in 10 are following it closely " and support for Burris is scant. By nearly 2-1, 51% to 27%, those surveyed say the Senate should block him from taking his seat. A similar majority, 52%, say Illinois should hold a special election as soon as possible to fill the office.

"That's not the way the state constitution provides, but it's the instinctive reaction by people: Let's do this democratically," says Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California at San Diego.

There's little sense that Obama should take a role in resolving the controversy: 51% say he should have no involvement at all, and another 16% say he should have "not much" involvement.

Burris arrived at the Senate Tuesday morning and met for 15 minutes with the secretary of the Senate, Nancy Erickson, only to leave the Capitol and talk to reporters in a cold rain.

While he introduced himself as the junior senator from Illinois, Burris said he was "advised that my credentials were not in order, and I would not be accepted, and I will not be seated, and I will not be permitted on the floor" of the Senate. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has refused to certify the appointment.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken by landline and cellphone Monday, has a margin of error of +/" 3 percentage points.

On another prospective Senate opening, in New York, 45% of Americans say they'd like New York Gov. David Paterson to appoint Caroline Kennedy to fill the seat now held by Hillary Rodham Clinton; 36% say they'd rather see someone else named. Clinton says she'll resign after the Senate votes to confirm her nomination as secretary of State.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-01-06-poll-burris_N.htm
0 Replies
 
slkshock7
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 08:56 pm
Actually, the Republicans should throw their weight in support of seating Burris and urge the Dems to stop being so racist.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 09:21 pm
In the final analysis this isn't about Burris or even about Rod Blago. The Dems want a special election in Illinois because they know their candidate -- whoever it might be -- can win against any GOP candidate, whoever it might turn out to be. So they don't want to seat an appointee. And that's exactly why the GOP in Illinois will fight any attempt to hold a special election, citing such a move as unconstitutional.

It's partisan politics at its bare-knuckles most basic level. Seat the guy, for chrissake, and get it over with.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 09:24 pm
Burris knew his credentials weren't in order. I think this (and his sort of vaguely not against Blago comments) don't make him look like a representative I'd want. I think he shoulda stayed home.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 09:31 pm
@ehBeth,
He certainly has no problems finding the camera crews.
rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 11:30 pm
@JPB,
Burris has a good reputation in Illinois. And he isent a crooked Chicago politician which is probebly why the Sec of State refused to sign for his appointment. The fact that he is from central Il. works against him in the Chicago political machine. Seat him for havens sake. If they dont we will end up with another Chicago crook in the senate seat.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 06:52 am
He'll be seated by the end of next week.

I'd like to be rooting for him because I am pretty certain he had absolutely nothing to do with the scumbag Governor. The appointment obviously was made just to bolster the Governor's standing when the judge gets around to sentencing his ass after his conviction.

But as a New York Giants fan...I ain't rooting for anyone named Burris this year...and probably not next year either.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 10:02 am
Roland Burris: Senate Will Seat Him, AP Says
January 7, 2009

Senate Democrats plan to accept Roland Burris for Obama's vacant seat, AP reports.

Blagojevich shocked Democratic leaders by appointing Burris to finish the final two years of Obama's six-year term in the Senate just three weeks after the governor was arrested on corruption charges in what federal prosecutors said was a scheme to sell or trade Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder,

Blagojevich denies the accusations and has yet to be indicted. There has been no indication that Burris was involved in the alleged scheme, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Democrats have repeatedly said the issue is Blagojevich, not Burris' qualifications.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Rules Committee, told reporters Tuesday evening that Burris should be seated.

"If you don't seat Mr. Burris, it has ramifications for gubernatorial appointments all over America," the California Democrat said. "Mr. Burris is a senior, experienced politician. He has been attorney general, he has been controller, and he is very well-respected. I am hopeful that this will be settled."

In a piece of political theater, Burris, 71, tried and failed Tuesday to take Obama's seat.

He marched into the Capitol, declaring himself "the junior senator from the state of Illinois," and asked Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson to accept a certification of his appointment signed by Blagojevich. Erickson refused, saying it lacked Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's signature and the state seal.

White has refused to sign the appointment letter that Blagojevich gave to Burris, saying he won't sign onto any such decision by a governor under legal siege.

White said Wednesday says he's being unfairly blamed by senators for not seating Burris, saying Burris could have been accepted there without his signature, calling that "mostly ceremonial."

And in Chicago, Burris' attorneys asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to expedite a hearing on their petition for a court order directing White to certify his appointment.

Burris also was considering a federal lawsuit to force Senate Democrats to seat him.

"Our credentials were rejected by the secretary of the Senate," said Timothy W. Wright III, an attorney for Burris. "We were not allowed to be placed in the record book. We were not allowed to proceed to the floor for purposes of taking oath. All of which we think was improperly done and is against the law of this land."
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 10:43 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

Roland Burris: Senate Will Seat Him, AP Says
January 7, 2009

And in Chicago, Burris' attorneys asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to expedite a hearing on their petition for a court order directing White to certify his appointment.

Burris also was considering a federal lawsuit to force Senate Democrats to seat him.

"Our credentials were rejected by the secretary of the Senate," said Timothy W. Wright III, an attorney for Burris. "We were not allowed to be placed in the record book. We were not allowed to proceed to the floor for purposes of taking oath. All of which we think was improperly done and is against the law of this land.


I'm not a big Burris fan but I do see this as grandstanding by Jesse White.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 10:27 pm
While everyone was obsessing about Burris, did anyone catch the announcement of that other new Senator, a week or two ago?

I'm a bit behind the curve here, but I couldn't find any mention of him here on a2k yet, with the Google search or via the tags, so here's the Google News link for him:

Michael Bennet in the news

I wrote a short blog post a few days after the news came out, mostly about a great New Yorker portrait of him from a year or two ago.
0 Replies
 
 

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